Conclusion The people always have some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness…This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears above ground he is a protector.1 —Plato, The Republic (360 BC) Now that we have traversed the millennia and examined biblical passages, philosophy, and scientific experiments tangent upon free will, let us fast for- ward to the present day to address the ultimate experiment in neuroscience: the downloading of memories into the brains of rats. See the following scientific article: Theodore W. Berger et al., “A Cortical Neural Prosthesis for Restoring and Enhancing Memory.”2 A summary appears in Benedict Carey, “Memory Implant Gives Rats Sharper Recollection.”3 National Public Radio’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook featured the story in a program aired on June 21, 2011. In preparation for this experiment, scientists embedded electrical probes into the brains of rats. Then the scientists taught the rats a new activity, i.e., which of two identical levers to press to receive water. They recorded the neural firings of the brain when the subject learns a new activity and stored the information in a computer. After the rats learned the new activity, the scientists impaired their mem- ory pharmacologically and tested them to confirm that they could no longer remember what to do. Then they downloaded the information from the com- puter back into their brains and the rats recovered their memory and knew what to do. The next step...
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